New Publication - Dominion over Palm and Pine: A History of Canadian Aspirations in the British Caribbean
Dominion over Palm and Pine
A History of Canadian Aspirations in the British Caribbean
By Paula Hastings
A provocative history of the enduring quest for a Canadian Caribbean.
From the expansionist fervour of the late nineteenth century through both world wars and the Cold War, a varied and ever-changing group of dreamers campaigned for Canada’s union with the British Caribbean colonies. They hoped to diversify Canada’s climate and agricultural capabilities, spur economic development, boost the nation’s autonomy and stature in the Empire-Commonwealth and the world, temper American power, and secure a tourist paradise.
Dominion over Palm and Pine traces the transnational ebb and flow of these union campaigns, situating them in the global history of colonialism and white supremacy, Black activism, and decolonization. Paula Hastings centres the British Caribbean in historical narratives that rarely take account of the region, challenging us to rethink the history of Canadian expansionism and its entangled relationship with nation building, the struggle for sovereignty at home and abroad, and Canada’s evolving role and reputation on the world stage. Widely conceived, the brokers of Canada’s international histories included a multiplicity of actors who shaped the evolving contours and outcomes of the debate: Canadian legislators, civil servants, businessmen, and social justice activists; Caribbean migrants, intellectuals, and anti-colonial nationalists; and British colonial officials, absentee planters, and politicians.
Canada’s lack of an overseas empire is often vaunted as a national characteristic that sets Canada apart from the United States and the old European powers. In excavating the dogged resilience of Canadian designs on the Caribbean, Dominion over Palm and Pine unsettles notions of Canadian goodness that rest on this self-righteous observation.